INDIA TRAVEL - 7 INDIAN TRAVEL DESTINATIONS YOU SHOULD NOT MISS

Summers are upon us and you must have started planning for vacation, certainly in your mind if not practically. India has plenty of famous summer destinations and every year so many people throng all the famous hill stations in the country. Every well known hill station becomes very crowded with summer rush. I will take you to some lesser known and explored places which are more beautiful and where you can enjoy cool climes and enchanting locales.

1. KASOL - It is a hamlet located between Bhuntar and Manikaran in Parvati Valley in Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh. It is situated at a height of 1580 m(app. 5200 ft) from sea level. Kasol is 5km (3 mi) from Manikaran and 31.2 km (20 mi) from Bhuntar. It's picturesque surroundings and plenty of trekking trails make it a favorite spot of backpackers. It serves as base camp for treks of Kheerganga and Malana. Kasol has good weather around the year and gets snowfall during the months of October to March.
Kasol Camping
CAMPING IN KASOL
Courtesy google images


View of Kasol
BEAUTIFUL VIEW OF KASOL
Courtesy google images 
PLACES TO SEE IN KASOL -

1. Kheerganga Trek - At the extreme end of Parvati river lies the Kheerganga at a height of 3050m (app. 10000ft). It has a small temple of Lord Shiva along with a hot water spring. It also has a bathing tank filled with hot water from spring. Here you can take bath. Imagine taking hot water bath in the midst of snow all around. Experience could be exhilarating. It is considered a holy place.

2. Parvati River -  Go to river bank and laze around in the picturesque environs. You have option of indulging in fishing or going for river rafting.

3. Tosh - Tosh is a village in Kasol approachable by treacherous roads. It's hippie culture makes it special. It's beauty is further enhanced by magnificent architecture o iaf it's wooden houses and hues of bright colors on them.

4. Malana - It is located at 8 km from Kasol. If you are adventure minded, this is the place for you. With trekking avenues, you can also go sight seeing. You can interact with locales and understand their interesting  traditions and customs. 

5. Manikaran Gurudwara - A place considered holy by both Hindus as well as Sikhs equally, it is just 15 min. drive from Kasol. It is situated on the bank of river Parvati. Lot of people visit this place for pilgrimage. Manikaran Gurudwara has hot water springs. People believe that bathing in these hot water springs cures you of many illnesses.

6. Rasol - This is again a very small village nearby. It is sparsely populated with hardly 70-80 houses here. It is a very beautiful and quiet place situated at a height of 3100 m(10000 ft). This village has it's own unique lifestyle. Every second person of the village can be seen spinning wool. You can understand the wool spinning process besides learning their lifestyle.

How to reach Kasol - Kasol is well connected by air and road. Nearest airport is Bhuntar, which is 31 km from Kasol From Bhuntar you can hire taxis to reach Kasol. All buses going to Manali from Delhi pass through Bhuntar. There are volvo luxury and ordinary buses run by govt. You can get down at Bhuntar and then take another bus or taxi to Kasol. It is not well connected by rail network due to it's high altitude. The nearest rail station Pathankot is 150 km(94 mi) from where you can hire taxi to reach Kasol.

2. LANDSDOWNE - Located in Pauri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand, Landstowne is a cantonment town at a height of 1706 m(app 5500 ft). It is 250 km(155 mi) from Delhi and 45 km(28 mi) from Kotdwar. British developed this town to train new recruits to Garhwal Rifles unit of army. Nowadays, it serves as Command Office of Garhwal Rifles.
It is again a quintessentially quiet town, away from the hustle bustle of city life. Ride from Kotdwar to this place is very steep but surroundings are very picturesque. Landsdowne has not spoiled by human activities yet and retains it's uniqueness and beauty with lush green surroundings.


Amazing Lansdowne
AMAZING VIEW OF LANSDOWNE
Courtesy google images


View of Lansdowne
LANSDOWNE
Courtesy google images

PLACES TO SEE IN LANSDOWNE - 

1. Bhulla Lake - This lake is maintained by army. It is a must see for it's very serene and tranquil atmosphere. You will simply love the quietness around and would soak in the serenity of the place.

2. Jugle Safari - You can go for a jungle safari. This is organized by the local tour operators. You can spot many Himalayan wild animals during this safari. 

3. Tarkeshwar Temple - This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Situated at a height of 2092 m (6500 ft), it is one of the ancient temples here. Mahashivratri  festival is celebrated with great fervor here.

4. Bhim Pakora - Trek for about 2 kn downhill from Lansdowne and you will reach a unique spot named Bhim Pakora. Uniqueness of this spot lies in two big stones atop each other by their edge. In spite of resting on their edge, none of the stones ever falls down. 

5. Darwan Singh Regimental Museum - This is a defense museum. Named after Victoria cross holder Darwan Singh, this is a two story building near parade ground. It was opened in the year 1923. It has a large collection of arms, uniforms and photographs of Garhwal Rifles.

6. Tip N Top - Also known as Tiffin top, this is a small hilltop view point situated at a height of 1700m(5200 ft). Located at 1.5 km from the town, it is the highest point of the town and provides breathtaking view of the city and surrounding forest. You can also see Garhwal hills from here with a backdrop of Himalayan ranges.

How to reach Lansdowne - Lansdowne is easily reachable from all major cities of India. Nearest airport is Jolly Grant airport in Dehradun, which is 150 km(94 mi) away. You can hire a taxi from there. The nearest railway station is Kotdwar, which is 41 km(26 mi) away. It is well connected to all the major cities. From Kotdwar, taxis and buses are available for Lansdowne. Buses are available from Delhi to Kotdwar also.

3. CHAIL - Another beautiful but very less explored hill station in Himachal Pradesh is Chail. Unspoilt by human invasion, Chail offers a perfect getaway from the madness of city life. It has an altitude of 2250 m(7380 ft) and is located 44 km(27 mi) from it's more famous sibling, Shimla. This place boasts of world's highest cricket ground. Chail will cast a spell on you with snow capped peaks of Shivalik range and with it's orchards and sylven pine trees. This place is best for hikers.



Cricket ground in Chail
CHAIL CRICKET GROUND
Courtesy google images
Image of Chail
BIRD'S EYE VIEW OF CHAIL
Courtesy google images
PLACES TO SEE IN CHAIL -

1. Chail Palace - Spread over an area of 75 acres, this palace was built by Maharaja of Patiala in 1891. It will mesmerize you with it's architectural splendor. Inside the palace, there is a tennis court and a badminton court. It also has an orchard, log cottages. Besides these, it has elegant lawns and a children's park too. There is a thick forest around palace. You can walk through it or you can try trekking also. Chail palace has been converted to a heritage hotel. There is an entry fee of Rs 100/- to visit the palace. Timings to visit are 10 am to 10 pm.


2. Rashtriya Military School - This is a military training school, where approximately 300 cadets are trained at any given time, to become future leaders.


3. Cricket Ground - As I said earlier, this is world's highest cricket ground at an altitude of 2444 m(8018 ft). It is surrounded by thick deodar forest. This ground is maintained by army and is well maintained. It was built in the year 1893. It serves as a play ground for Chail Military School. This ground is used as polo ground during the school vacations. There is a basketball court too. It is also used to play football with goal posts on both sides. Army has built a tree house here on an ancient tree.


4. Chail Gurudwara - After building Chail palace, Gurudwara was the first building built by Maharaja of Patiala. It was completed in the year 1907 and is built in western style. The main attraction here is the 6.7 m(22 ft) high wooden roof. It's sheer artistry takes your breath away.


5. Kali ka Tibba - This is a pilgrimage site and attracts lot of people from all over the world. It is also known as Kali Devi Temple. You get an amazing view of Shivalik ranges from the top here.


6. Chail Sanctuary - Spread over a vast area of 10854 hectares, this sanctuary came into being in the year 1976. It boasts of wild animals like ghoral, sambhar, red jungle fowl, kakkar and khalij and cheer pheasants. Machans(high view posts) have been built here, from where you can observe the wild life.


How to Reach Chail - Nearest airport from Chail is Shimla, which is 45 km(27 mi) away. From there you can hire a taxi. The nearest rail station is Kalka, which is 60 km(38 mi) away Kalka is well connected to all the major cities of India by train. From Kalka, you can either hire a taxi or you can get on a train to Kandaghat on meter gauge. From Kandaghat again you have to hire a taxi for about 30 km travel. Buses are available from Chandigarh and Shimla for Chail.


4. AULI - Also known as Auli Bugyal in Garhwali, meaning meadows, this beauty is situated at an altitude of 2500m(8200 ft) to 3050 m(10010 ft). It is the ski destination of India. Located in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, it is on the way to Badrinath, the holy pilgrimage site of Hindus. Auli gives a panoramic view of Himalayan peaks and is surrounded by coniferous and oak forests. For skiing purpose, slopes have been built intentionally, both for professionals as well as novices. Apart from a 4 km(2.5 mi) long cable car and a cable chair it also has a ski lift. It has well maintained trekking routes also.

Auli skiing
SKIING IN AULI
Courtesy google images



Auli
SNOW COVERED AULI
Courtesy google images

PLACES TO SEE IN AULI -


1. Gurso Bugyal - At an altitude of 3056 m (10026 ft), it is a trekkers' delight. You will reach here after a 3 km trek from Auli. And from here, you get a stunning view of some of the highest peaks of Himalayas, namely Nanda Devi, Trishul and Drone.


2. Kwani Bugyal - Again a trekker's dream, it is located 12 km (almost 8 mi) from Gurso Bugyal. It is situated at an elevation of 3380 m(11089 ft). It is best to visit during June to September.


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for trekking, camping and many other outdoor activities.  

3. View Points - From this point, you get a panoramic view of Nanda Devi peak. There is a small Hanuman temple also. It is believed that Lord Hanuman took rest here while going to procure sanjivani herb for Lakshman, the younger brother of Lord Ram. There is an artificial lake to, believed to be the highest man made lake. And then there is cable car, which provides stunning view of the picturesque surroundings.


4. Chenab Lake - This is one of the least known and visited spots. It's virgin beauty is a thing to cherish. It's calm and serene atmosphere makes it enchanting for the visitors.


5. Trishul Peak - Trishul Peak is formed by three Himalayan mountains in western Kumaun region. It has an altitude of 7120 m (23360 ft). There is a ring of peaks enclosing Nanda Devi sanctuary. Trishul Peak forms the southwest end of this ring. It's main peak Trishul 1 became the first peak over 7000 m to be climbed by man.


HOW TO REACH AULI - The nearest airport to Auli is Jolly Grant in Dehradun, which is 149 km(93 mi) away. The nearest railway station is Haridwar, which is 273 km(170 mi) away. From Dehradun and Haridwar, you can hire a cab or get on to a bus for Auli. Another alternative is to travel to Joshimath by bus or cab and then get on to the second longest cable car in India. It is 16 km(10 mi) long and takes about 22 minutes to reach Auli. The best part of travelling by cable car is the picturesque and breathtaking views you get around and moreover it reaches faster than bus or cab.


5. BINSAR - About 95 km(60 mi) from Nainital is a dream destination named Binsar. Nestled in beautiful Himalayas, at an altitude of 2420 m(7940 ft), it provides an ideal mountain retreat. It is surrounded by Alpine forests and rhododendron trees. It was empire of Chand king in the 7th century. If you are looking for solitude and peace, this is the place for you. It is a paradise for trekkers also, what with many trekking trails. And it is a great place for a romantic holiday also. Binsar has a wildlife and bird sanctuary, with a huge variety of flora and fauna. All in all, it is good for solitude, adventure or romantic getaway seeking people.




Calm Binsar
CALM BINSAR
Courtesy google images
Image of Binsar
PICTURESQUE BINSAR
Courtesy google images

PLACES TO SEE IN BINSAR

1. Wildlife Sanctuary - Binsar is essentially a forest region and this wildlife sanctuary was established here in the year 1988, primarily to protect broad leaved oak trees. For wildlife and nature lovers as well as adventure seekers, this place is a paradise. It is home to 200 species of birds and about 100 species of wild animals and plants. One thing unique to this sanctuary is that you don't get a vehicle to travel inside the sanctuary. You have to walk around to see the place. But there is a government rest house beside a few private properties, inside the complex where you can stay. It is strongly recommended to have a guided tour of the sanctuary, which is organized by the local tour operators.


2. Zero Point -  Walk for around 1.5 km inside the wildlife sanctuary and you reach zero point. From here you can see upto 300 km(190 mi). You can get an excellent view of Kedarnath, Nanda Devi, Trishul peaks and Shivling.


3. Bineswar Temple - This temple is devoted to Lord Shiva. It was built in the 16th century and it's architectural grandeur will stun you.


4. Golu Devta Temple - Golu Devta is another name for Lord Shiva. It was built during Chand regime in the 7th century. Devotees hang bells here as offerings and you can here soft tinkles of bells coming from the temple. Therefore, it is also called the temple of a thousand bells.


How to reach Binsar - Nearest airport to Binsar is Pantnagar, which is 152 km(95 mi mi) away. You can hire taxis from there. Pantnagar is connected to Delhi by daily flights. Nearest railway station is Kathgodam, which is 119 km(74 mi) away. Kathgodam is very well connected to other major stations of the country. Again, taxis are available from Kathgodam. Binsar is very well connected by road to all the major cities of Uttarakhand.



6. DHANAULTI - Between two more famous hill stations, Mussourie and Chamba lies this beautiful Dhanaulti in the state of Uttarakhand. It is 24 km(15 mi) from Mussourie and 31 km(19 mi) from Chamba. Surrounded by alpine forests of Deodar, Rhododendron and Oak trees, it is a quiet place. It's pristine beauty will take your breath away.

Dhanaulti snow

SNOW COVERED ROAD IN DHANAULTI
Courtesy google images



Image of Dhanaulti
GREENERY IN DHANAULTI
Courtesy google images

PLACES TO SEE IN DHANAULTI

1. Surkanda Devi Temple - It is a part of Devi Darshan triangle. This triangle provides trekking opportunity around Dhanaulti in Surkanda Devi, Chandrabadni and Kunjupuri. It is situated at 8 km from Dhanaulti towards Chamba. This place is also famous for it's festival Ganga Dussehra during autumn.


2. Himalayan Weavers - On way to Dhanaulti from Mussourie, you will see Himalayan weavers. They produce hand woven shawls, stoles and scarves of wool, eri silk and pashmina. You can buy this stuff from here. At the same time you can see the process also. It is open upto 4.30 pm. It is 8 km from Mussourie towards Dhanaulti.


3. Dashavtar Temple - Built during Gupta empire, this is a popular place in Dhanaulti. This temple is devoted to Lord Vishnu. It was earlier known as Panchayatan Temple. Side walls of temple have carved inscriptions of vaishnava mythology and terraced basement has beautifully sculpted panels.


4. Eco Parks - Named Amber and Dhara, two eco parks are maintained by the forest department. These provide you an opportunity for casual strolls in the midst of Deodar and Cedar trees. There is ample open space for children to play. You can indulge in small hikes also. Families also can have fun in the large open places. These parks are open from 6am to 6pm daily. There is an entry fee of Rs 25 per adult and Rs 10 per child.


5. Barchipani and Joranda Falls - Originating from Budhabalanga river, water falls down at very high speed from here. Both these falls have great height. While Joranda is at 150 m, Barchipani is at 400m height.


6. Camp Thangdhar - Campers and nature enthusiasts will find this camping retreat very exciting. Equipped with comfortable safari tents and modern amenities, it provides many outdoor activities options. Check in and checkout timings are 9am.


7. Dhanaulti Adventure Park - Lush green meadows, towering trees and stunning view of Himalayas form this adventure park. It is located on Orchard road and is an ideal getaway from hustle bustle of city life. From here, there are trekking options to Top Niba and Sarkanda Devi. Another option available here is mountain biking.


8. Aaloo Khet - Or potato farm is a government farm. You can see large stretches of potatoes farmed here and get first hand knowledge of potato farming. Also, it has a sunrise view point. This farm is open from 9am to 6 pm.


How to reach Dhanaulti - Nearest airport is Jolly Grant at Dehradun, which is 95 km(60 mi) away. Flights from all the major cities land here. Nearest railway station is also Dehradun, which is well connected to all the major cities. From here you can hire taxi to Dhanaulti. From Delhi, Dhanulti is 325 km and is 8-9 hrs drive.


7. PALAMPUR - Situated in Kangra valley of Himachal Pradesh, it is known as the tea capital of northwest India. Nestled in the lap of Dhauladar ranges, it is surrounded by pine forests. You will find numerous streams of water falling from mountains to plains. Palampur draws it's name from a local word Palum, which means lot of water. It has an altitude of 1470 m(5000 ft) and the highest point here is Birni Mata Temple, which is at a height of 2170m (7200 ft). Greenery all around and lot of water streams give it a distinctive look. You can see Victorian style mansions and castles in Palampur town.




Image of Palampur
LUSH GREEN IN PALAMPUR
Courtesy google images
Palampur tea garden
TEA GARDEN OF PALAMPUR
Courtesy google images
PLACES TO SEE IN PALAMPUR

1. Tea Gardens - Large stretches of lush green tea gardens are the primary attraction here. Divine fragrance of tea leaves transports you to a dream world. These tea gardens have been here since 19th century and tea produces here is known as Kangra tea. You can see the tea leave pluckers working in the gardens and interact with them. Beside that, you can gain complete knowledge of tea making process, right from plucking of leaves. You can also visit Palampur Cooperative Tea Factory Limited downhill.


2. Neugal Khad - It is chiefly a picnic spot for family. It is 2 km from Palampur town. The natural beauty around gives a scenic view. There is a government cafe also here, named Neugal cafe.


3. Toshi Jong Monastery - Besides being a place of worship of Buddhists, this place also serves as home for many Tibetan refugees. It has a main shrine, a college for freshers and a Tibetan restaurant. It is a very serene place. You can get Tibetan artifacts as souvenirs from the crafts museum inside the monastery.


4. Saurabh Van Vihar - Built in memory of Kargil war martyr, Saurabh Kalia, it is a nature park on the banks of snow covered Neugal Khad in Kwat village. Located 4 km(2.5 mi) away from Palampur town, it is spread over 13 km. It houses large species of birds and wide variety of plants and trees. It provides breathtaking view of Dhauladar ranges. You can enjoy boating here along with bird watching and bouldering.


5. Andretta Pottery - Started by Mansimran Singh in 1983, it was established to teach clay pottery and designing for a fee. See the pottery making here.


6. Baijnath Temple - This temple is devoted to Lord Shiva and is one of the most beautiful temples of Kangra valley. It was built by two local merchants Ayuka and Manyuka in 1204 AD. It has splendid architectural design which resembles architecture of Jagannath temple of Puri. Legend has it that demon king Ravan worshiped Lord Shiva  here and got immortality as a boon from him. It's architectural beauty and religious significance make it a must see place. Here Lord Shiva is worshiped as God of healing. It is believed that water here has potential to cure many diseases. It is one of very few temples where both Lord Shiva and Ravan are worshiped. Visit this place for it's architectural marvel.


How to reach Palampur - Nearest airport is Gaggal in Dharamshala, which is 25 km(15 mi) from here or Bhuntar in Kullu, which is 58 km (36 mi) away. You can get taxis from both these places. Nearest railway station is Pathankot, which is 83 km(53 mi) away. Again, taxis are available from there. Regular buses are also available from all major cities of Himachal Pradesh. Palampur is 489 km(302 mi) from Delhi.


WHERE TO STAY - All the above places have good hotels to stay. You can have both budget as well as luxury hotels. Just checkout FABHOTELS for best hotel deals.


So pack your bags and get ready to view these enchanting places.


HAPPY TRAVELING!!


2 comments:

  1. Amazing Travel Blog about our country India. Keep sharing more great work on this great blog. I hope you will also like my blog which is about Vegetarian Food & India Adventure Traveling. indiafoodtraveling.com

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    1. Thanks Sumit! Glad you liked it. I will surely visit your blog.

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